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A Case of Interrogation

October-November 2004

With Too Many Olés completed this week, we thought we'd keep the impetus going, and have transferred and performed preliminary restoration work on another serial. This time, not least because of the long lay-off for the Restoration Project, we've decided to restore and make available one of the serials that has been unheard in Avengers circles since its original broadcast in the early 1970s. In other words, a reward for the Avengers fans' patience and their kindness in not sending us threatening letters! The serial chosen is A Case of Interrogation, adapted by Denis Folbigge in seven parts from the Tara King story, The Interrogators.

All seven episodes were transferred from John Wright's original off-air ¼" reels direct to computer on the afternoon of Thursday 28th October 2004. The episodes are preserved on two separate tapes - the first six on one track of one tape, the seventh episode on one track of another. The first six episodes are in remarkably good condition. It never ceases to amaze me just how well these have weathered the thirty-one years since they were recorded by John in South Africa. It's a testament not only to the tape format, but also to John's careful storage of the reels. Additionally, they are recorded very competently. It's a pleasure to work on tapes of this quality, particularly after spending so much time trying to get something decent out of a set of television recordings (mentioned in the last restoration report), which were recorded in a very slapdash fashion: 1⅞" per second (the slowest speed) with an open microphone and a noisy recordist! John's recordings were almost all made as line recordings with a patch cable. It is no understatement to say that Avengers fans, ourselves included, owe John a great debt of gratitude.

Once the recordings were safely on the computer, they were treated, still in their two separate blocks (1-6 and 7) to noise- and hiss-reduction passes. Episode 7, which appears to be a tape-to-tape transfer rather than an off-air which the resultant loss in fidelity, was graphic equalised to improve dynamic range and noise and hiss reduced to a slightly greater extent than the other episodes had been. Although prior to clean-up, the seventh episode sounded considerably less impressive than the first six, following the work, they sound much more similar. Listeners may not even notice a change of quality.

On the morning of Friday 29th October, these episodes were cut into their individual episodes, and declick work (where the files are scanned by hand, for clicks and pops, and corrected using Cool Edit Pro's 'fill single click' function) commenced on Sunday 31st October, with work on Episode One being completed. For the record, these manual declick passes are currently taking between an hour and a half and two hours per episode. Episode Two, weighing in at 105 minutes work, was completed on the evening on Tuesday 2nd November, with the third being completed in sections on weekday mornings, with the final few minutes of the episode being finished on Sunday 7th. Episodes Four and Five were subsequently declicked on Sunday 21st November with work on Episode Six completed late on Monday 22nd November. The final episode was processed on the night of Tuesday 23rd November, bringing work on this serial to an end.

by Alan and Alys Hayes